At Central Synagogue

What is Melton?

Named for Florence Melton, its founder, Melton is an internationally renowned, formal program for adult Jewish study. It offers a well-rounded and sophisticated approach and provides a comprehensive exploration of Jewish thought, practice, ethics and history utilizing a cross-denominational curriculum. It is designed for all levels of Jewish knowledge and practice – there is no Hebrew knowledge required, nor are there tests, grades or homework. In its 30 plus years, the Melton program has graduated more than 30,000 students from its classes in “mini schools” all over the world. Hailed as “the best of the best adult Jewish education,” Central Synagogue created its Melton Mini School in 2012 and has graduated more than 125 of our own Central students. Detailed descriptions of the classes we offer can be found below.

Visit Melton’s website to learn more »

Who can attend Melton?

Melton is open to anyone in the Jewish community (members or non-members of Central) who wants to study on a regular basis and acquire a comprehensive foundation of Jewish literacy. It is appropriate for all levels of students (no Hebrew knowledge is required) and there are no prerequisites for Year 1. For members of Central Synagogue, the classes may also be applied toward becoming an Adult B’nei Mitzvah.

Who teaches Melton?

Our faculty consists of Central Synagogue clergy and other specially trained, New York-based clergy and educators.

How often does Melton meet?

The core curriculum is taught once a week for two hours, thirty weeks a year, for two years. New students entering the program will have a choice of studying on either Tuesday mornings or Tuesdays evenings. Year 1 students will be taking Rhythms of Jewish Living and Purposes of Jewish Living. Year 2 students will be taking Crossroads of Jewish History and Ethics of Jewish Living. Class descriptions can be found below.

What if I can’t commit to two years?

Fair enough. Come for one year. We think you’ll be hooked.

What happens at the end of the two years?

Students will “graduate” Melton and be honored at a special Graduation Ceremony where they will receive certificates. For those Central members who were working toward becoming an Adult B’nei Mitzvah, they will be called to the Torah in unique ceremony and recognized in the community.

Can I keep studying after I graduate?

Of course! Central Synagogue offers Melton Scholar Courses. These 10-week courses are only open to those who have completed the first two years of Melton (either at Central or another Melton site). See below for more detailed information.

Are there any other perks?

Yes! Not only will Melton provide you with an outstanding Jewish education, participating in it is also a wonderful way to meet new people and become part of your own small community. We find that our Melton students develop long-lasting friendships amongst themselves and strong bonds with their instructors. We also host a large, festive Shabbat dinner for Melton students and their families and offer a Melton-only trip to Israel. Stay tuned for more details about the trip.

What am I going to learn?

Year 1

No Prerequisites, Open to All

  1. The Purposes of Jewish Living: Why do Jews believe as they do? What are the big questions of life and how do Jewish thinkers answer these questions? This course explores both ancient and modern responses to many of the major issues of Jewish thought and theology.
  2. The Rhythms of Jewish Living: What’s the point of living Jewishly? What ideas, beliefs, and practices are involved? This course examines a wide variety of Jewish sources to discover the deeper meanings underlying Jewish holidays, life-cycle observances, and Jewish practice.

Year 2

Required Prerequisite: completion of Year 1 of Melton at Central or another Melton site

  1. Crossroads of Jewish History: How do the turning points in Jewish history influence our lives today? This course seeks to reclaim the richness of Jewish history and explore the role that Jews played, not just as passive victims, but also as active shapers of our shared identity and destiny.
  2. The Ethics of Jewish Living: How do Jewish teachings shed light on contemporary issues such as the environment, inter-personal relationships, end-of life decisions, and stem-cell research? This course explores the wisdom of ancient and modern rabbis, scholars and thinkers, offering multiple Jewish approaches to conducting our lives in the communal and private spheres.

Fall 2018 Scholar Courses

  1. Bereshit 2 – The Story of the First Jewish Family: This course follows the development of the first Jewish family, from “The Birth of Two Nations” and “Stolen Blessings” to “Reunion in Egypt” and “Blessing the Grandchildren.” These stories of sibling rivalry, wrestling with an angel, palace seduction, rape, and reconciliation provide some of the most dramatic and iconic images that reverberate across the millennia. Students must have taken Bereshit I in order to register.
  2. Vayikra – a Call to Holiness: Chosen by the Rabbinic sages as the first book of the Torah that children should learn, contemporary readers often perceived Vayikra (Leviticus) as inaccessible. Yet, embedded in the laws of sacrificial practices, ritual impurity and purity, and the pursuit of holiness are messages and values that have relevance to the universal condition. In our study of Vayikra, we will examine themes including the role of rituals, responding to tragedy, bringing sanctity into one’s daily life, and more. Through a textual study of selected passages, this course uncovers the depth and wisdom of the third book of the Torah and reveals its enduring messages.
  3. The Crescent and the Star - The Long Relationship of Judaism and Islam: Jews and Muslims have co-existed, both peacefully and contentiously, for more than a millennium. What do they have in common? What are the sources of tension and conflict? During the first thousand years after the founding of Islam, it was better to be Jewish in a Muslim country than in a Christian country. Only after that period did the relationship between Jews and Muslims deteriorate, particularly in the Middle East. This course will examine the longstanding relationship between Judaism and Islam, broadening our understanding and challenging our assumptions.

When do the classes meet?

Year 1

Tuesday mornings, October 9, 2018-May 21, 2019
9:30-10:30am: Purposes of Jewish Living –
taught by Rabbi Stephanie Kolin
10:30-10:45am: Break for snacks and socializing
10:45-11:45am: Rhythms of Jewish Living –taught by Rena Singer, 5th Year Rabbinic Intern at HUC

Tuesday evenings, October 9, 2018-May 21, 2019
6:30-7:30pm: Purposes of Jewish Living – taught by Rachel Dulitz
7:30-7:45pm: Break for snacks and socializing
7:45-8:45pm: Rhythms of Jewish Living – taught by Lisa Lisser

Year 2

Tuesday evenings, October 9, 2018-May 21, 2019
6:30-7:30pm: Crossroads of Jewish History – taught by Lisa Lisser
7:30-7:45pm: Break for snacks and socializing
7:45-8:45pm: Ethics of Jewish Living – taught by Harmon Grossman

Fall 2018 Scholar Courses

Bereshit II
Tuesdays, October 9 – December 11, 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Taught by Rabbi Nicole Auerbach

Tuesday Mornings, October 9 – December 11, 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Taught by Rabbi Lori Koffman

The Crescent and the Star (Melton)
Mondays, October 15 – December 17, 10:45 am - 12:15 pm
Taught by Rabbi David Kalb

What does it cost?


Year 1: $600
Year 2: $600
Scholar Courses: $300 (for each 10-week course)


Year 1: $750
Year 2: $750
Scholar Courses: $350 (for each 10-week course)

Withdrawal Policy

For all Melton courses, payment is due in full by credit card at the time of registration. Registration is accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and members receive priority registration. Classes run contingent upon a minimum registration of 15 students per class. Our withdrawal policies are as follows…

  • Withdrawal two weeks prior to first class – Full refund
  • Withdrawal under two weeks before to first class – Full refund less $85 (book fee)
  • Withdrawal after the second class – No refund


Register for Year 1 »
Register for Year 2 »
Register for Scholar Courses »